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July4 2014

 

No matter our favorite breed of horse or chosen discipline; whatever our age or skill level, if we ride horses, we yearn for a balanced, stable, and independent seat that allows us to move with the horse and direct him using subtle aids without interfering with his ability to perform.

In honor of July 4, 2014, we at TSB are sharing four of our favorite exercises to help develop a little seat independence in all of us:

 

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The Teeter-Totter from Centered Riding 2 by Sally Swift

  • Stand quietly and comfortably erect, feet slightly apart.
  • With your whole body straight, tip forward as far as you can without having to take a step to catch yourself.
  • Hold yourself in this extreme position with your feet quiet. Notice how much tension there is in your body, your feet, legs, torso, and neck.
  • Come back to a balanced position in the center and relax.
  • Now lean backward and notice again the degree of tension in your whole body, especially up the front of your thighs and torso.
  • Come back to the center and feel the freedom and ease of being in what I call “pure balance.”
  • Now imagine you are on your horse–you need to be in “pure balance” with your center directly over your feet to ensure you are not unconsciously transferring tension to the horse. This “pure balance” applies to all seats and disciplines. Practice the Teeter-Totter exercise regularly to build and maintain awareness of your balance and center.

 

 

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2  Push Hands from A Gymnastic Riding System Using Mind, Body, & Spirit by Betsy Steiner

  • Stand squarely facing a partner, hands at your sides.
  • Reach out to your partner, and have your partner reach out to you, and place your hands palm to palm. You should be close enough that your elbows, and your partner’s elbows, are slightly bent. Your knees should also be slightly bent.
  • Have your partner give you a vigorous push with her left hand while you try to keep your right hand and shoulder from moving. As you resist the push, you’ll feel tension and resistance in your entire body and maybe lose your balance and have to take a step back.
  • Now have your partner again give you a push with her left hand. This time, release your right hand and shoulder and allow them to go where your partner moves them.  When you “release” in this way, allowing your shoulder to move backward and your partner’s had to go forward, the tension of the push is dissipated and there is no resistance in your body.
  • Repeat the exercise with the opposite hands.
  • Push Hands shows us how the horse and rider must “give” to each other, and how the rider must be able to receive pressure as well as apply it by being supple and centered. When you’re relaxed in your arms and shoulders, for example, you are able to maintain your balance and center. Try to achieve the same “give-and-take” of pressure with the horse when you ride.

 

 

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Find Your Flat Back from 40 5-Minute Jumping Fixes by Wendy Murdoch

  • Sit on the edge of a flat bench or chair. If possible, do so beside a mirror so you can see what your back looks like when it is flat.
  • Place the back of one hand on your lower back. Make sure your hand is on the waist area, not the sacrum.
  • Place your other hand palm up under one seat bone and rest on your hand. Feel how your lower back and seat bones change position in relation to each other when you hollow, round, or flatten your lower back.
  • Gradually change from one position to the other making smaller and lower movements until you have a definite feeling that your back is flat and broad. Notice what happens to your weight on the bench or chair. Do your buttocks muscles soften? Can you sink back into your hips as if to sit more deeply? When your back is flat, the seat bones will follow the line of the your back.
  • Repeat the exercise in the saddle. As your back hollows, your seat bones point back toward your horse’s tail; as your back rounds, your seat bones point forward toward your horse’s head; when your back is flat, your seat bones follow the line of your back, straight from head to seat. A flat back stabilizes your pelvis and upper body so that you feel more secure in the saddle.

 

 

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Plank on Mat: Knees from The Riding Doctor by Beth Glosten, MD

  • Lie on your stomach on an exercise mat.
  • Bend your elbows and keep them by your sides, placing your forearms on the mat. Bend your knees so your lower legs are off the floor.
  • While keeping your shoulders stable, lift yourself onto your knees and forearms into a suspended plank position. Seek a long and neutral spine position, and avoid pulling your shoulders up around your ears. Try to keep your pelvis level–it shouldn’t be pushed up toward the ceiling.
  • Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • This is a fantastic integrating exercise for core muscle function and shoulder and leg support, stabilizing spine alignment. In the saddle, you want stability of the spine–that is, despite changes in forward or sideways energy, you want to keep your body in a balanced upright position.

 

Happy Independence Day from Trafalgar Square Books!

Visit our online bookstore at www.HorseandRiderBooks.com, where shipping in the US is FREE.

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WPTZ Channel 5 News Anchor George Mallet and his OTTB Brahma Fear.

WPTZ Channel 5 News Anchor George Mallet and his OTTB Brahma Fear.

George Mallet is something of a local celebrity to those of us who live and work in Vermont. Our WPTZ News Channel 5 anchor offers a familiar and comforting presence as he counsels us on the day’s occurrences from our television, computer, or mobile device.

But for those of us at TSB, there’s something important that sets George apart from other news personalities: He’s a horseman. And his horse of choice is an off-the-track Thoroughbred.

In 2005, George was working as a television reporter in Philadelphia when he heard that a grandson of Secretariat had been born in Pennsylvania’s Chester County, and he decided to chronicle the little colt’s arrival. While George’s crew took photographs for the story, the colt—named Brahma Fear—pressed up against George’s leg.

“I scratched the distinctive Secretariat white star on his forehead,” George writes in his October 2010 article in the Journal Sentinel. “…A paternal instinct overtook me as I stood in that lush Pennsylvania paddock. I was a goner.”

George followed the trajectory of Brahma Fear’s racing career, and as is the case with so many young Thoroughbreds, by the summer of 2009, Brahma was losing cheap claiming races. In August that same year, George found himself writing a check and handing it to the colt’s trainer.

“I paid more for my laptop computer than I paid for a grandson of the legendary Secretariat,” he writes.

It isn’t often we can so clearly see how a single, fleeting moment can change the course of a life—or of lives—forever. But in the now intertwined stories of George and Brahma, there’s nowhere else to look but at that tender exchange of touch and pressure, the briefest of communications between species, in a spring pasture.

We love that George rediscovered a childhood interest in horses late in his life, taking up riding only after he traced the faint pattern of hair on an as yet unknown colt’s forehead. It speaks to the most romantic of hearts that he then kept tabs on the young Thoroughbred’s whereabouts…the horse’s starts and finishes, his victories and losses. And we can’t help but fall a little bit in love with how it all turned out.

“Sometimes I marvel at how lucky I was to end up with Brahma,” says George. “I really knew nothing when I grabbed him off the track. I only had the memory of meeting him as a foal and just ‘melting’ when he pressed up against me. When I did that story on his birth, I wasn’t even riding yet. I broke all the rules. Green riders aren’t supposed to adopt green-broke thoroughbred racehorses. Yet somehow I ended up with a remarkably calm, smart, and appreciative thoroughbred pal!”

A true OTTB success story! Check out more about George and Brahma in this great video from Seven Days:

 

 

Trafalgar Square Books is proud of its own OTTB success story: In the books CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED, young Sarah Wagner rescues a rogue racehorse and then must find a way to keep him, against all odds. Here’s an excerpt from the first book in the exciting new Brookmeade Young Riders Series:

For several moments Sarah and the horse stood looking at each other. Then she lifted the stall door’s latch and let herself inside. As Crown Prince retreated to the corner, she reached back over the door to lower the latch back into position. Slowly she approached the horse, all the while talking softly. “Good boy, good Prince,” she repeated. Once by his side, she reached to touch his long neck and stroke it gently. His coat felt like sleek satin. He turned his head toward her, seeming to know she meant him no harm…

“You beautiful Prince,” she murmured. As Sarah stroked his neck and continued to speak in hushed tones, she felt the horse become more relaxed. His head dropped down to her and gradually his eyes softened, as he clearly enjoyed her touch and gentle voice. He offered no resistance as she gently pulled his head closer and rested her cheek on his muzzle. It was so soft. With his head lowered, she caressed his forehead, tracing the white star, and gently tugged his ears. She felt like she’d known this horse forever.

CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED are available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

You can meet Linda Snow McLoon, the author of the Brookmeade Young Riders Series, on Saturday, March 29, 2014, at a special presentation sponsored by the Granby Public Library and the Granby Pony Club, in Granby, Connecticut. Click here for more information on this event.

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Take the TSB Quiz to figure out a great gift for the horse lover on YOUR list!

Take the TSB Quiz to figure out a great gift for the horse lover on YOUR list!

 

If you’ve been uninspired, stumped, lost in the virtual shopping aisles, and wandering the for-real malls and stores without purpose or reason, there’s no need to panic…there’s still time to score great gifts for the horse lovers in your life—and if you order before midnight tomorrow, Tuesday, December 17, 2013, you can still get FREE SHIPPING in the US in time for Christmas!

So who is still on your list? What is it about horses and riding that they love most? Take this quick quiz to get a few topnotch book and DVD recommendations from the TSB staff…we’ve got something just right for horse lovers of every age, area of interest, and ability.

 

Click image to shop now!

Click image above to shop now!

 

THE TSB GREAT GIFTS FOR HORSE LOVERS QUIZ

 

1  The horse lover on my list loves to…

a  Play games and have fun on the ground.

Trail ride, go “horse camping,” and hack out.

c  Compete regularly and earn awards and prizes.

d  Train horses and improve their trust in their handler, way of going, and overall performance.

 

If you answered “a” check out:

THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK

HORSE AGILITY THE DVD

TRICK TRAINING FOR HORSES

 

If you answered “b” we recommend:

RIDING BARRANCA

KNOW YOU, KNOW YOUR HORSE

BETTER THAN BOMBPROOF

 

If you answered “c” how about:

PRESSURE PROOF YOUR RIDING

HOW GOOD RIDERS GET GOOD

IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE RIBBONS

 

If you answered “d” go with:

7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN DVD SERIES

CLINTON ANDERSON’S PHILOSOPHY

THE MODERN HORSEMAN’S COUNTDOWN TO BROKE

 

2  The horse lover on my list is totally into:

Classical riding and the well-being of the dressage horse.

Groundwork and schooling in-hand.

c  Jumping jumping jumping.

d  Hoots, hollers, and high speeds.

 

If you answered “a” check out:

DRESSAGE WITH MIND, BODY & SOUL

THE ALCHEMY OF LIGHTNESS

RIDDEN

THE JOY OF DRESSAGE DVDS

 

If you answered “b” how about:

HORSE TRAINING IN-HAND

CONNECT WITH YOUR HORSE FROM THE GROUND UP

DANCING WITH HORSES DVD

 

If you answered “c” we recommend:

THE AMERICAN HUNTER/JUMPER FORWARD RIDING SYSTEM DVD SERIES

JUMP COURSE DESIGN MANUAL

MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON

 

If you answered “d” go with:

TEAM ROPING 101

REINING ESSENTIALS

ROOKIE REINER

 

3 The horse lover on my list prefers:

a  Watching DVDs.

Using practical, step by step instructions to learn a new skill.

c  Reading for pleasure.

 

If you answered “a” check out:

GEORGE MORRIS: TEACHING AND TRAINING THE AMERICAN WAY DVD

DRESSAGE MOVEMENTS REVEALED DVD

WESTERN SADDLES DVD

 

If you answered “b” how about:

WHERE DOES MY HORSE HURT?

DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE

BEYOND THE TRACK

 

If you answered “c” we recommend:

THE SMART WOMAN’S GUIDE TO MIDLIFE HORSES

CROWN PRINCE

CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED

 

Still need ideas? Trafalgar Square is the leading publisher of equestrian books and DVDs, and we have hundreds of titles in our online store–so go ahead and CLICK HERE to find something just right for the horse lover on your list, just in time for the holiday!

 

Have fun and Happy Holidays from the TSB Staff!

Photo by Donna DeMari from RIDING BARRANCA by Laura Chester.

Photo by Donna DeMari from RIDING BARRANCA by Laura Chester.

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New Vocations Racehorse Adoption has a new "champion"! Metro Meteor, the Painting Racehorse, will be on the TODAY SHOW April 4, 2013. Tune in and check it out!

New Vocations Racehorse Adoption has a new “champion”! Metro Meteor, the Painting Racehorse, will be on the TODAY SHOW April 9, 2013. Tune in and check it out!

New Vocations Racehorse Adoption was founded in 1992 to offer retiring racehorses a safe-haven, rehabilitation, and continued education through placement in experienced, caring homes.  The New Vocations focus is on adoption versus retirement, believing that each horse deserves to have an individual home and purpose. Close to 4,000 retired Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds have been placed in qualified homes through New Vocations’ efforts since its inception, including 429 ex-racehorses that were placed in 2011. These horses have come from 18 different states and have been adopted by families throughout the country.

New Vocations Program Director Anna Ford expanded the organization’s reach when she wrote BEYOND THE TRACK: RETRAINING THE THOROUGHBRED FROM RACEHORSE TO RIDING HORSE, alongside cowriter Amber Heintzberger. Their marvelous book provides the most thorough, clear, step-by-step system for successfully transitioning ex-racehorses to new careers, providing thousands of horses (and their lucky owners) the opportunity to enjoy each other in both recreation and sport. In addition, a portion of the proceeds of the sale of each book goes to support the New Vocations program.

Now New Vocations has a rising star in the art world on its side: Metro Meteor, a contemporary artist who, while you may not have heard of him yet, is about to break into the big time when he appears on the TODAY SHOW, April 9, 2013.

Although he has only recently been recognized for his artistic eye, there is already a waiting list for Metro Meteor’s abstract paintings…and 50% of the proceeds from all sales go directly to New Vocations! Why does this emerging artist choose to champion the cause of racehorse adoption? Well, because (of course) he started his life on the track (did I forget to mention he’s a HORSE?)

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Metro won his first race and placed in his first stakes race as a two-year-old. Running turf races out of Saratoga and Belmont, Metro won eight races and $300,000 in purse money. But he was prone to bone chips in his knees and underwent two surgeries during his racing career before his knee issues led him to only racing in low-level claiming races. Luckily, the manager of the racing partnership that owned him retired the horse and put out a call for a good home—and Ron and Wendy Krajewski took him, hoping for a trail horse.

It wasn’t long, even with only light work, before Metro’s veterinary prognosis indicated he needed to be retired completely from work. Ron’s bond with the horse inspired him to find other ways they could spend time together, including groundwork and…painting! Ron is a painter by trade, and using clicker training concepts, he taught Metro to target and “swipe” a canvas with a brush. Ron chooses the colors, but the layering, texture, and form is all Metro.

On a whim Ron offered a few of Metro’s pieces for sale through a local gallery, and they were a hit. He decided to continue marketing Metro’s work with half of the proceeds going toward paying his ex-racehorses expenses and veterinary bills, and the other half donated to help fund New Vocations and their mission to find other “Metros” new careers…and unexpected ways to share time and space with humans.

When Ron contacted New Vocations to explain what he wanted to do, Executive Director Dot Morgan was amazed and excited. “It was an interesting email that became downright inspiring!” she says. “Ron described his adopted Thoroughbred Metro Meteor, how he’d taught him to paint, and that he wanted to commit part of the proceeds to New Vocations. But then he went on to say that six paintings had sold the first week and he was sending 50% of those sales to New Vocations! In addition, an article about Metro’s mission had appeared in the Gettysburg Times and just been picked up by the Associated Press!

“He included a link to a video of Metro painting in his stable studio,” Dot continues. “I watched the video and was astounded! This was potentially one of the greatest awareness building stories I’d ever seen. It was obvious that Metro’s ability to help horses beyond the track would far exceed his numerous accolades at the track. Here was the high profile spokesman that racehorses needed, and it was one of their own!”

You can watch Metro and Ron painting here:

And don’t forget to tune in and watch Metro Meteor’s story on the TODAY SHOW, April 9, 2013.

BETHTRBEYOND THE TRACK, a book that was called “breakthrough racehorse literature” by Liz Harris of Thoroughbred Charities of America, is available from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW

Amber Heintzberger, cowriter of BEYOND THE TRACK, has a new book coming out—again featuring off-the-track Thoroughbreds! You can preorder MODERN EVENTING WITH PHILLIP DUTTON by CLICKING HERE.

And, our new Brookmeade Young Riders fiction series follows the adventures of Sarah Wagner and her off-the-track racehorse Crown Prince. You can order the first two books in the series Practical Horseman called appealing “not only to young beginner riders but also to older and more seasoned horse lovers” by CLICKING HERE.

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Vanessa Bee, founder of the International Horse Agility Club, is coming to North America in 2013!

Vanessa Bee, founder of the International Horse Agility Club, is coming to North America in 2013!

TSB is thrilled to announce that Vanessa Bee, founder of the International Horse Agility Club, author of the bestselling HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK and creator of the all-new DVD HORSE AGILITY: A STEP-BY-STEP INTRODUCTION TO THE SPORT is coming to the United States and Canada in May and June of 2013.

Vanessa’s tour begins in Denver, Colorado,the weekend of May 18-19, with Horse Agility training sessions and a competition, followed by a trip to Arizona to present a series of competitions, clinics, and playdays the following weekend.

Vanessa will be helping others get started in this wonderful new horse sport.

Vanessa will be helping others get started in this wonderful new horse sport.

Then it will be on to Washington State to help set up a young branch of the International Horse Agility Club and present Horse Agility to a whole new audience! Next, Vanessa’s tour  takes her to Manitoba, Canada, where she’ll give two Horse Agility clinics in early June.

“I am delighted to be traveling across the Atlantic to meet so many committed and enthusiastic members of the Horse Agility Club and make many new friends along the way,” says Vanessa. “Horse Agility is growing faster than I ever dreamed possible, and it’s very exciting to be personally training new trainers and starting new Clubs so far away.”

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER THE HORSE AGILITY DVD NOW!

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER THE HORSE AGILITY DVD NOW!

In addition to her commitment to helping others get started in the wonderfully inclusive sport of Horse Agility, Vanessa has decided to pursue her own horsemanship education while she’s here.

“The 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN DVDs are completely addictive,” she admits. “I ordered them for Christmas and couldn’t have bought myself a better present! I am so impressed, but I do have questions…Only one way to find the answers: Ask the man himself! So I’m flying over from the UK to watch Buck work at a clinic in Steamboat Springs, Colorado—that’s how good I think this man is!

“I would seriously recommend these DVDs to anyone who wants to improve and enhance their horsemanship and relationship with their horses,” Vanessa adds.

Vanessa is attending the Buck Brannaman clinic that runs from May 10-13 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Check out Buck’s 2013 clinic schedule on his website buckbrannaman.com.

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK NOW!

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK NOW!

And you can find out how to attend Vanessa’s “North American Tour” Horse Agility clinics, competitions, and playdays by checking for updates and contacting her through the International Horse Agility Club website: http://www.thehorseagilityclub.com.

THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK, HORSE AGILITY DVD, and 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN are available from the TSB online bookstore.

CLICK HERE TO SHOP NOW

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2012NEWYEAR

Each year at this time I like to take a moment, as so many of us do, and look back over the events of 2012—at what made them special, or memorable, or exciting. I like to review time past and consider what maybe I wish I’d done differently…and also, and what makes me proud.

At Trafalgar Square Books, we always strive to provide the the best quality in educational equestrian literature and viewing we can. This year, I am particularly proud of our list of titles—if you haven’t had a chance to check them out, now is your chance to purchase them through the TSB online bookstore ON SALE, for a limited time.

So here they are, the TSB Books & DVDs of 2012:

THE HORSE AGILITY HANDBOOK

This fabulous guide by Vanessa Bee, the Founder of the International Horse Agility Club, gives you everything you need to get started in the hot new international sport of Horse Agility.

THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS OF DRESSAGE

With a title and a cover meant to stop you in your tracks and make you think, Douglas Puterbaugh’s exploration of how to counter our own human frailty in order to become better riders is a terrific read.

RIDING ON THE AUTISM SPECTRUM

It is no secret that riding has a very important place in helping those with autism spectrum disorders open to those around them in ways never thought possible. Claudine Pelletier-Milet shares her experiences in France, with a warmth and honest that is delivers both inspiration and hope.

HORSE PROFILING

Kerry Thomas has made a splash in the Thoroughbred racing industry with his form of profiling a horse’s performance tendencies and developing ways in which a horse can be mentally conditioned toward a given goal.

NATURE, NURTURE AND HORSES

Paul Belasik journal-type writing gives us an honest glimpse into the life of a horseman and the challenges he faces and joys he experiences as he brings along four very different sport horse prospects from birth.

DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE

FEI/USEF dressage judge Janet Foy’s bestseller provides training tips and creative ways to improve the horse you have and bring him along through the levels despite his “faults” and imperfections.

HOW TO SPEAK HORSE

A red-hot bestseller, this terrific introduction to natural horsemanship just for kids is temporarily out of stock—order now to receive your copy as soon as more arrive!

CROWN PRINCE and CROWN PRINCE CHALLENGED

A wonderful two-book introduction to the Brookmeade Young Riders Series by Linda Snow McLoon. With a focus on riding, good horsemanship, and hard work, these novels are appropriate for children ages 10 and up.

7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN

A 10-hour, 7-disc instructional series from the modern-day master of good horsemanship, created from the unused footage shot while creating the award-winning documentary BUCK.

BALANCING ACT

The follow-up to Dr. Gerd Heuschmann’s international bestseller TUG OF WAR, this new book takes his argument for the good of the horse further.

SPORT HORSE CONFORMATION

Veterinarian, judge, and sport horse breeding authority Christian Schacht provides methods for evaluating dressage, jumping and eventing prospects based on recognizing proportions and lines.

DANCING WITH HORSES PAPERBACK

A reissue of the international bestseller from Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling.

NINE PILATES ESSENTIALS FOR THE BALANCED RIDER

Popular Pilates instructor and dressage rider Janice Dulak breaks down the body into nine essential “parts” and incorporates the “Magic Circle” exercise ring in a series of exercises specifically targeted to improve the muscles you need in riding.

Check out all of the books in our TSB BOOKS & DVDS OF 2012 SALE, going on now!

And Happy New Year, from all of us at Trafalgar Square Books.

2013-happy-new-year-wallpaper-15

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Everyone is gearing up for the biggest weekend in holiday shopping! Beginning with “Black Friday” (the notorious day after Thanksgiving that can make-or-break a retailer’s year), great sales and special events often extend into Saturday and Sunday, ensuring that visiting families and kids home from school have somewhere to go (and some way to spend their money!)

Two Trafalgar Square Books authors are doing their share by participating in special book signing events this Saturday, November 26–the “day after” Black Friday. Check it out:

ON THE EAST COAST

Dorie McCullough Lawson, wife of painter T. Allen Lawson and daughter of historian David McCullough, is reading her fabulous new children’s book TEX, discussing the story behind it, and signing books at Bunch of Grapes, 44 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. She will be upstairs in Kid’s Corner beginning at 10:30 am.

TEX is the perfect picture book for your child, grandchild, niece or nephew, with wonderful color photographs, a story about imagination, work ethic, and the beauty of the American West, and a main character who goes to sleep at the end (very important!) Watch the video of one little boy “reading” TEX by clicking HERE.

AND OUT WEST

Kayla Starnes, the writer and photographer behind the new USTRC-endorsed book TEAM ROPING 101 will be signing books at the Hastings in the Texas horse-capital of Stephenville, 2900 West Washington Street, #10, from 3 to 6 pm.

TEAM ROPING 101 is all you need to know to get started in the hottest new sport for those who like riding horses, going out with the family, and winning great cash prizes. Endorsed by the USTRC and featuring tips from champion ropers Speed Williams and Rickey Green, as well as training tips and a foreword from Stephenville celebrity horseman Clinton Anderson, Kayla’s book is a surefire way to rope up some fun.

Don’t miss these two great opportunities to get terrific holiday gifts, personalized by the author!

Both TEX and TEAM ROPING 101 are also available from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is always FREE.

The Trafalgar Square Books Crew says HAPPY THANKSGIVING with 15% off your online order at HorseandRiderBooks.com! Just enter the coupon code THANKS15 at checkout (sale runs through 12-2-2011 and cannot be combined with other offers).

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“When I was about eight years old, I got leather riding boots for Christmas. I remember putting them on—and my riding hat, too—and marching around my bedroom and looking in the mirror. No pictures were taken, thank goodness!” –Kim Cook, Marketing Director

 

“My best Christmas with horses has to be the year that Santa answered my repeated request for a pony. I received this great gift as a ten-year-old, when my horse experience was limited to begging riding time from horse-owning friends. It was truly a memorable gift in many ways. You see, while Santa’s intent was good, he appeared to have as much experience matching horses to riders as my family did. Had Santa had time to consider he might have wondered why this particular ‘Christmas pony’—a 15-hand Morgan named ‘Beelzebub’ (which loosely translates to ‘prince of demons’) who arrived with a full bridle and a cut-back saddle—was the right gift for a child who had only limited riding experience in hunt seat saddles. Seven months after this Christmas wish was granted, it was loaded right back on the trailer of the dealer who delivered it, as it was most well-known for bucking its rider off every time she rode it! (In hindsight I wonder if this dealer actually sold this horse every Christmas with the same result!)

“But, like a true horseperson, I was not to be discouraged. Many wonderful horses followed my first Christmas pony, and I still own, ride, and love horses—and Santa—to this day.” –Julie Beaulieu, Promotions Director

 

“Ever since I sat on the neighbor’s skewbald pony when I was three-years-old, I’ve been horse-crazy. Neither of my parents were the least bit interested in horses, but by the time I was five it was clear the horse thing wasn’t going away. Fortunately, I had a grandmother who understood.  She grew up riding, driving, and loving horses. The summer I turned six she insisted that I could start riding lessons. By age eight, I had a lesson each week during the summer. Of course, I longed to have a horse of my own. I was told repeatedly I wasn’t going to own a horse until I was ‘older.’ That didn’t stop me from dreaming. There was a small tack shop about ten miles from our home. It was a huge treat to go and look at the saddles, bridles, brushes, even the fly spray and hoof oil, because these items meant HORSE OWNERSHIP! Grandmother sympathized with the angst of her granddaughter. Christmas morning of my eighth year brought a package containing a rubber curry comb and a soft brush. These were the very best gifts because they meant surely a horse couldn’t be too far in the future!

“I finally got a horse of my own at twelve. Over thirty years later when asked what was the best horse-related gift I’d ever received those brushes came to mind. Not only do I remember how I proudly displayed them in my room, but amazingly, I still own the soft brush with its polished wooden handle. I used it only yesterday to brush my horses’ faces. It means so much after all these years and brings to mind my grandmother. She’d be so happy and proud I still have horses and that brush. Though a small gift, it was huge to me at the time and still holds meaning all these Christmases later.”   –Martha Cook, Managing Director

 

“I finally got my first pony at age nine, and a string of give-aways, loaners, and free-leases filled our barn in the years that followed. My parents weren’t horsey, and we didn’t have much money, so it was a big deal for them to support my passion as much as they did. It was understood that it wasn’t in the budget to have fancy tack, so I outfitted my horses with used equipment found at tack swaps, Pony Club sales, and consignment racks. I still kick myself for trading a beautiful hardcover copy of Black Beauty inscribed by some dear friends for a cheap all-purpose saddle when I was ten…but at the time, being on a horse’s back was more important than cherishing keepsakes.

“At fourteen I was free-leasing a lovely gray Anglo-Arab mare named Asil—she was sweet, willing, spirited, and loved to jump, just like I did. I traded barn work for lessons and made plans to compete her locally. That Christmas I opened a big box under the tree to find the most beautiful, brand new bridle—dark brown with a raised braided browband and noseband—and a maroon halter and lead rope that were perfect for Asil’s coloring. I can still remember the feeling of amazement that my parents, who knew nothing about horses, had put the time and effort into choosing items that were sized correctly for my horse and were such perfect colors. Those gifts represented their love and support, and meant more than anything.

“Asil and I cleaned up at the local shows that year, and we even had our picture in the paper, with Asil wearing that maroon halter and looking very sharp indeed!”  –Rebecca Didier, Senior Editor

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Hello world!

Hey horse fans! It’s time to hear about your favorite riders, trainers, and horses–what they’re doing with their days, nights, and hours in (and under) saddle–with the regularity and insight only an insider can offer! Trafalgar Square Books (www.horseandriderbooks.com) is pleased to offer you day-to-day and week-to-week close-ups on the books and DVDs in our world-famous “stable” and the authors who’ve written and created them. We’ll have updates on shows, clinics, expos, demos, and tours (not to mention behind-the-scenes glances at the making of books and DVDs). We’ll get special stories you can’t read about anywhere else. We’ll find tips and tidbits from the professionals that you haven’t seen before. And, we’ll have featured appearances by our famous authors, offering you a chance to hear what they think about a variety of topics, as well as news and updates on what they’re up to now and where they’re headed next. Stay tuned, horse fans–it’s gonna be a great ride!

Oh, and the FABULOUS photo in our header is from the new book GALLOP TO FREEDOM by Magali Delgado and Frederic Pignon–check it out at http://www.horseandriderbooks.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=H&Product_Code=GATOFR

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